ARC Review: The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle

The Great American WhateverAuthor: Tim Federle

Genre: Young adult, contemporary, LGBTQIA+

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: March 29, 2016

278 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

I was initially drawn to this one by the cover and title. I mean, look at it. It’s great! Plus, while I haven’t read the whole thing yet, I’ve heard great things about Federle’s Nate books. I’m glad I checked it out, because while I had some reservations with the story and characters, I enjoyed this book overall.

First of all, it’s hilarious. I think the only way I can really show you this is by just giving you a quote.

If I took out my broken AC and cracked the window, I’d have to confront the reality that I might hear, like, birds, or worse: the merry squeals of neighborhood children. And who has the stomach for that kind of unannounced joy at this hour?

The writing, the symbolism, the movie references were all top notch. In my opinion, the thing that fell flat was the plot. There honestly wasn’t much there. I thought it fell flat. And I also wished I could reach in and just shake Quinn a bit. I wanted to connect with him a bit more than I did. Which isn’t to say I didn’t connect with him at all; it was just difficult sometimes to understand him and connect with his feelings. And you guys know how much I despise insta-love, and there’s a bit of that here.

The bottom line: Funny, smart, and sarcastic. I liked that part of the book a lot. It was a bit hard to connect with the book at times and I wasn’t overly fond of the insta-love, but the book is a quick, fun read, so I definitely enjoyed that!

Rating: 7 – Pretty good

Waiting on Wednesday: The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

The Great American WhateverPublisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Author: Tim Federle

Release date: March 29, 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the award-winning author of Better Nate Than Ever comes a laugh-out-loud sad YA debut that’s a wry and winning testament to the power of old movies and new memories—one unscripted moment at a time.

Quinn Roberts is a sixteen-year-old smart aleck and Hollywood hopeful whose only worry used to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister Annabeth. Of course, that was all before—before Quinn stopped going to school, before his mom started sleeping on the sofa…and before Annabeth was killed in a car accident.

Enter Geoff, Quinn’s best friend who insists it’s time that Quinn came out—at least from hibernation. One haircut later, Geoff drags Quinn to his first college party, where instead of nursing his pain, he meets a guy—a hot one—and falls hard. What follows is an upside-down week in which Quinn begins imagining his future as a screenplay that might actually have a happily-ever-after ending—if, that is, he can finally step back into the starring role of his own life story.

Why I’m excited: I’m excited because I want to join Quinn on this journey – a journey from being in a shell to being himself. I feel like it’s going to be an emotional, funny (if it’s anything like his MG books), silly, wonderful journey. Also, I’m kind of assuming we’re actually going to get parts of Quinn’s imaginary screenplay because you guys know how much I love alternate storytelling methods! It’ll be interesting to see Federle’s first foray into YA as well. Also, love that title!

Book Review: Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

Black IceAuthor: Becca Fitzpatrick
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Thriller
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
392 pages, hardcover

Check out the synopsis on Goodreads.

It seems like everything I liked about this book was matched by something that I didn’t like.

The things that I liked:

Black Ice has a pretty creative plot line that seemed quite unique to me. Girl and friend go into the mountains for Spring Break. Girl’s ex-boyfriend decides to join them, but before anything can happen, a blizzard stops them from getting anywhere. Girl and friend set out into the woods for help and find shelter with two strangers – who happen to be fugitives. They kidnap girl to get them off the mountain.

Cool, right? Well, not cool exactly but different. The beginning of the story really drew me in. It has descriptions like:

Her boyfriend “scribbled poetry on church walls, park benches, cars, and her own hungry soul.” – Page 5

Wuuuut? I like that.

The beginning and the end were pretty exciting and well-paced. They have a good bit of action and they were exhilarating. The book is a fast read and kept my attention most of the time. I was drawn into the character’s stories and was really interested to understand their motivations and backstories.

The things I didn’t like:

The middle section dragged on for way too long. I feel like a lot in the middle could’ve been cut out and it would’ve made for a much better paced and captivating novel.

The main character is plain, naïve, and a little boring sometimes. She was just kind of there; there wasn’t really anything super memorable about her. SPOILER: Other than the Stockholm Syndrome, of course. I was really, really creeped out about this and it made me extremely uncomfortable at times, which might be part of the point, but it was weird. I really didn’t understand it; romance would not have been a concern for me if this happened.

I predicted the end halfway through the novel. I even made a note that said “[Name removed because spoiler] has been the murderer from the beginning – prediction halfway through the book.” Haha.

The bottom line: Overall, I was interested in the story and I definitely wanted to keep reading to see how everything panned out, but there were weaknesses in the characters and plot that affected my overall enjoyment. I’m having trouble figuring out a rating because I’m not really sure if I liked or didn’t like this one overall.

Rating: 6 – good, but not great